Concerns are growing over reports that two Americans, both military veterans, are missing and may have been captured by Russia on the battlefield in Ukraine.
Andy Tai Ngoc Huynh, who served in the Marines, and Alexander Drueke, an Iraq War veteran, were volunteering with a unit of foreign fighters in the Ukrainian army when they went missing amid a fierce battle near the Russian border, fellow soldiers told British newspaper The Telegraph.
An Alabama congressman identified Huynh as a 27-year-old from the town of Trinity. Rep. Robert Aderholt said in a statement Wednesday that Huynh’s family reached out to his office after they last heard from him on June 8, when he was in the Kharkiv area.
“Huynh, a former U.S. service member, volunteered to go fight with the Ukrainian Army in their current war against Russia,” Aderholt said. “As you can imagine, his loved ones are very concerned about him. My office has placed inquires with both the United States Department of State and the Federal Bureau of Investigation trying to get any information possible.”
CBS News spoke to Drueke’s mother, Lois, who said she hasn’t received any official confirmation that her son was captured.
The State Department said Wednesday it is “aware of unconfirmed reports of two U.S. citizens captured in Ukraine.”
“We are closely monitoring the situation and are in contact with Ukrainian authorities. Due to privacy considerations, we have no further comment,” a State Department spokesperson said.
The State Department also warned U.S. citizens not to travel to Ukraine and those who are there to leave immediately lest they become targets of Russian operatives.
The White House said it cannot confirm the reports but said, if true, it will do everything it can to get them home safely.
Last week, a Moroccan and two British prisoners of war appeared in a Russian-backed separatist court, where they were sentenced to death by firing squad for fighting alongside the Ukrainians.
Andy Garcia contributed reporting.